Thursday, 26 February 2015

New Chickens

New Chickens but also an electric fence

Yesterday 19 white chickens arrived yesterday from a commercial farmer who takes day old chicks and grows on until they are ready to lay. They are commercial Point Of Lay chickens but I can't remember the make and model number of them. 6 Cockerels, 1 to keep and 5 to fatten up and eat.

They were kept in the shed for 24 hours before letting them out and the first thing that struck me was how much and how quick these things eat compared to the Leg Bars, Leg Horn and Silky chickens of before.

The previous chickens would slowly eat their food and there would have been some left after 30 minutes but these lot eat everything within 2 minutes. When I fed them in the shed all I could hear was tap tap tap as the beaks hit the floor as they pecked, and then it fell silent as they finished.

Around the pen I've put an electric fence at the top which will hopefully stop the fox but of course time will be the judge of this.

The last lot all had names and different personalities but with 19 white commercial almost identical chickens that's unlikely to happen without a tin of spray paint and some imagination.

With the wings now clipped it's just a matter of sitting back waiting for eggs and since they are from commercial stock these things are likely to lay eggs in a prolific fashion so our diet is likely to change to omelette, scrambled, poached and boiled egg along with lots of cakes :) .... or alternatively a possibility into starting to sell produce at the country market.

They are supposed to have 100g of special feed per chicken per day (almost 2kg) while we slowly wean them off of their normal food onto corn/wheat, layer's pellets and kitchen scraps but luckily the farmer gave us 4 bags of their normal feed thrown into the price. It's looking like the feed might be close to a £1 a day once they start laying. This living cheaply and having your own eggs and meat is beginning to look like the expensive option - especially during the winter when no eggs are forth coming!

Since the farmer doesn't want cockerels I have been told I can have as many cockerels as I want or can cope with but now we are about to find out if the cockerels will tolerate each other. They have been split up from the hens (although 1 was left with the little flock, brood , peep, clutch or chattering or what ever the group is called). If they can't get along we'd better create some freezer space!

Since the neighbour has just given us a 4 yr old apple tree which I planted in their coup I guess I can now say the eggs come from "woodland chickens" as is now the fashion. That's what another local chicken farmer has done, planted a few young trees in a field where the chickens can roam and now the supermarket has "from free range woodland chickens" printed on the boxes, with a higher price of course.  

Just remembered the chicken shed needs some more roof felt and another roosting perch, more items on the job list.

Who'll be the first to get a shock as we forget the electric fence is live in the morning? Seems like the kids have got the job of letting the chickens out in the morning :)

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